The E-rate program is supporting a record 108,411 high speed data lines this school year, an increase of 37% over the past five years:
In addition to providing discounts on more connections, the average speed of those lines has increased from 1,809 Mbps (1.81 Gbps) in 2016 to 3,751 Mbps (3.75 Gbps):
Perhaps even more remarkable than the increase in speeds and counts of data lines, however, is the significant decrease in the average price paid. In 2016, the median monthly price was $4.63 per Mbps. In 2020, that number has dropped to just $0.89 per Mbps:
One factor that is likely contributing to faster speeds and lower costs is increasing competition spurred on by the Form 470 competitive bidding process. There has been a 41% increase in the number bids received for Category One services over the past five years. In 2016, the average E-rate funding request for telecommunications or Internet access was tied to bids submitted by 2.4 bidders. By 2020, that number has increased to 3.3 bidders: